Train passenger service in Maine stopped in 1959. Most of the train stations fell into disrepair, but in 2004 the governor requested that service to Rockland resume to bring more people from neighboring towns to the annual lobster festival. This service proved to be so popular during the tourist season, that trains have been running from Brunswick to Rockland ever since. Last summer the depot in Bath was renovated and also houses a tourist information center. This was where we boarded. Our dads commuted to work every day on trains. This used to be a rather ordinary experience. But today it was a thrill to watch the scenery go by from our nicely upholstered seats and have our tickets punched by an honest to goodness conductor.
Although our destination Rockland boasts 20 restaurants and 15 art galleries within walking distance of the depot, what interested us was the harbor where the real action was. The pier was like a lobster fishermen pit stop. The boats would come in and the lobster unloaded, bait would be put on board and the fishermen could head out again. The lobsters were packed into huge plastic crates and put floating back in the water. The crates that each fishermen filled were roped together so they could receive appropriate compensation for their catch. The bait fished smelled to high heaven. We were surprised to see that some had arrived frozen from Canada. The fishermen seemed to enjoy being the subject of our photography. They said that someone from Fisherman magazine had been here two days ago doing the same thing. Sea gulls were everywhere. They know a good deal when they see it.
Rockland also has a lighthouse museum, which tells you more than you would ever want to know about lighthouses. There were examples of all the fresnel lenses, which aim and amplify the light. Some of them were ten feet tall. For awhile, light house boats served as cautionary beacons until the light house structures could be built. Many of the lighthouse keepers lead lonely, harrowing lives. No matter the weather, they knew that sailors were at sea, depending on that light to keep them from crashing into the craggy shore. Often they lived in isolation for weeks at a time. Thankfully, automation has made this all a thing of the past. Perhaps someday some tourists will pay big bucks to stay overnight in some isolated Maine lighthouse.